ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Algorithmic Shapeshifting by Bogi Takács

summary

44245998Publisher: Aqueduct Press
Release Date: May/June 2019
Received From: Review copy from the author

From the author’s Patreon:

This collection will include a lot of my previously published poems, some previously Patreon-exclusive poems, and some never-before-seen poems… and also a great foreword from Lisa M. Bradley!

gender sexuality romantic pairings

GENDER: transgender, nonbinary, intersex
SEXUALITY: queer
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: queer
PAIRING: N/A

tropes tags warnings

TROPES: magical abilities, reincarnation
TAGS: poetry, speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy, queer person/character, autistic person/character, Jewish person/character, Hungarian person/character, disabled person/character, ownvoices, immigrant person/character
WARNINGS: religion (Judaism), mental illness, Nazi mention, self-harm, physical injury, Holocaust mention, bugs, body horror, cissexism/anti-trans, imperialism, anti-migrant, misogyny, genocide, blood, antisemitism, racism, gaslighting, police, colonialism, animal death

review

and I clench my fists, less in anger than in a violent, shuddering release that knocks down walls of memory and preconception, sends the wind hurtling to the sky, clashing against the clouds,

calls me by my name,

unravels the world.

What an excellent collection of poems! Just as weird and intense as the author promised!

Every poem in this collection was fascinating in it’s own way, no matter the topic being addressed, and they were all so deeply imbued with emotion. These works take us on a ride through happiness, love, fear, confusion, and so many different feelings, and they’re all layered so beautifully on top of each other, flowing from one poem to the next. It’s so easy to get swept up in Takács words–in the imagery and descriptions, alongside the emotion–and get lost in the world e’s created, and pieces e’s borrowed from our current world and eir own experiences.

In this collection, Takács explores such topics as Soviet occupation and living in Hungary as a Jewish person, as well as identity topics, such as gender and autism. Each poem is a vividly personal experience, and while I enjoyed them all, I found myself most fond of the ones that were clearly meant for and dedicated to people in eir life. A particular favorite was “Malchut,” which is dedicated to eir spouse. It was so heartwarming and lovely, one of those works that makes you smile as you read.

One aspect of the collection that I really enjoyed, and which struck me in a visceral way, was the way Takács illustrated the fact that society is circular and follows the same patterns if they’re not stopped, and how we’re recreating the past in our present and into the future. E does it in a really incredible way through speculative fiction, but it’s unmistakably contemporary as well.

My favorite of the poems were “The Handcrafted Motions of Flight,” “Trans Love Is,” “Flee to Far Shores,” “Expect the Creaking,” “Overlays,” and “Malchut.”

rating4 STARSabout the author

6469904Bogi Takács is a Hungarian Jewish agender trans person (e/em/eir/emself or they pronouns) currently living in the United States with eir family and a congregation of books. Bogi writes, edits, and reviews speculative fiction and poetry. E is a winner of the Lambda Literary award for editing Transcendent 2: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction, and a finalist for the Hugo and Locus awards. Bogi talks about books at http://www.bogireadstheworld.com and you can also find em as @bogiperson on Twitter, Patreon, and Instagram.

buy links

Aqueduct Press
Amazon

review by nicky tyler

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